Full Text Obama Presidency April 6, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Easter Message




Statement by the President on Easter

This Sunday, Michelle and I will join Christians across the country and around the world to celebrate Easter and give thanks for the all-important gift of grace.  Easter is a time to reflect on both Christ’s suffering and ultimate triumph, as the anguish of the cross continues to give way to the victory of resurrection.  So to all those celebrating with us, we extend our warmest Easter greetings and best wishes in the days ahead.

Full Text Obama Presidency April 6, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on the Jobs Creation, Market & Report at the White House Forum on Women and the Economy



On Jobs, Obama and Romney Argue Over Fullness of the Glass

Source: NYT 4-6-12

President Obama speaking on Friday at the White House Forum on Women and the Economy in Washington.

Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

President Obama speaking on Friday at the White House Forum on Women and the Economy in Washington.

President Obama on Friday emphasized the last three months of job creation while Mitt Romney argued that Mr. Obama has been a failed economic steward….READ MORE


President Obama Speaks at the White House Forum on Women and the Economy

President Obama Speaks at the White House Forum on Women and the Economy

Remarks by the President at the White House Forum on Women and the Economy

South Court Auditorium

10:30 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  Thank you, everybody.  Everybody, please, please have a seat.  (Applause.)  Everybody, sit down, sit down.  I was going to head over here earlier and they said, no, no, this place is full of women and they’re still settling down.  (Laughter.)  I said, what do you mean settling down?  What are they doing over there?  Just creating havoc.

Welcome to the White House, everybody.  It is a pleasure to be surrounded by so many talented, accomplished women.  It makes me feel right at home.  Although usually, I’ve got my wingman Bo with me.  (Laughter.)

I want to thank everybody who’s made this Forum on Women and the Economy possible.  I thank Mika for helping moderate today and proving that, on your show every morning, that women really are the better half.  (Laughter and applause.)  Joe is not denying it.  (Laughter.)  He’s not denying it.

I want to thank the members of my Cabinet and administration who are participating today.  And I want to thank all of you who’ve come today lending your time and your energy to the critical cause of broadening opportunity for America’s women.

Right now, no issue is more important than restoring economic security for all our families in the wake of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.  And that begins with making sure everyone who wants a job has one.  So we welcome today’s news — (applause) — we welcome today’s news that our businesses created another 121,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate ticked down.  Our economy has now created more than 4 million private sector jobs over the past two years, and more than 600,000 in the past three months alone.  But it’s clear to every American that there will still be ups and downs along the way, and that we’ve got a lot more work to do.

And that includes addressing challenges that are unique to women’s economic security — challenges that have been around since long before the recession hit.  And that’s why one of the first things I did after taking office was to create a White House Council on Women and Girls.  I wanted to make sure that every agency across my administration considers the needs of women and girls in every decision we make.  And today, we’re releasing a report on women and the economy that looks at women’s economic security through all stages of life — from young women furthering their education and beginning their careers, to working women who create jobs and provide for their families, to seniors in retirement or getting ready for retirement.

There’s been a lot of talk about women and women’s issues lately, as there should be.  But I do think that the conversation has been oversimplified.  Women are not some monolithic bloc.  Women are not an interest group.  You shouldn’t be treated that way.  (Applause.)  Women are over half this country and its workforce — not to mention 80 percent of my household, if you count my mother-in-law.  (Laughter.)  And I always count my mother-in-law.  (Laughter.)

Every decision made by those of us in public life impacts women just as much as men.  And this report you all have explains some of what we’ve done to try to lift up the lives of women and girls in this country.  But I’d like to spend some time talking about why we’ve done what we’ve done.

For me, at least, it begins with the women who’ve shaped my life.  I grew up the son of a single mom who struggled to put herself through school and make ends meet; had to rely on food stamps at one point to get us by.  But she earned her education, she made it through with scholarships and hard work, and my sister and I earned our degrees because of her motivation and her support and her impact.  I’ve told this story before — she used to wake me up before dawn when I was living overseas, making sure that I was keeping up with my American education, and when I’d complain, she’d let loose with “this is no picnic for me either, buster.”  (Laughter.)  And that’s part of the reason why my sister chose to become a teacher.

When my mom needed help with us, my grandmother stepped up.  My grandmother had a high school education.  My grandfather got to go to college on the G.I. Bill; my grandmother wasn’t afforded those same opportunities even though she had worked on an assembly line, a bomber assembly line in World War II.  Nevertheless, she got a job at a local bank, and she was smart and tough and disciplined, and she worked hard.  And eventually she rose from being a secretary to being vice president at this bank, and I’m convinced she would have been the best president that bank had ever seen, if she had gotten the chance.  But at some point she hit the glass ceiling, and for a big chunk of her career, she watched other men that she had trained — younger men that she had trained — pass her up that ladder.

And then there is the woman who once advised me at the law firm in Chicago where we met.  (Laughter.)  Once — (laughter) — she gave me very good advice.  That’s why I decided to marry her.  (Laughter.)  And once Michelle and I had our girls, she gave it her all to balance raising a family and pursuing a career — and something that could be very difficult on her, because I was gone a lot.

Once I was in the state legislature, I was teaching, I was practicing law, I’d be traveling — and we didn’t have the luxury for her not to work.  And I know when she was with the girls, she’d feel guilty that she wasn’t giving enough time to her work.  And when she was at work, she was feeling guilty she wasn’t giving enough time to the girls.  And like many of you, we both wished that there were a machine that could let us be in two places at once.  And so she had to constantly juggle it, and carried an extraordinary burden for a long period of time.

And then finally, as a father, one of my highlights of every day is asking my daughters about their day, their hopes and their futures.  That’s what drives me every day when I step into the Oval Office — thinking about them.  Every decision I make is all about making sure they and all our daughters and all our sons grow up in a country that gives them the chance to be anything they set their minds to; a country where more doors are open to them than were open to us.

So when I think about these efforts, when we put together this Council on Women and Girls, this is personal.  That’s what is at the heart of all our efforts.  These are the experiences, the prism through which I view these efforts.  And that’s what we mean when we say that these issues are more than just a matter of policy.  And when we talk about these issues that primarily impact women, we’ve got to realize they are not just women’s issues.  They are family issues, they are economic issues, they are growth issues, they are issues about American competitiveness.  They’re issues that impact all of us.

Now, think about it.  When women make less than men for the same work, that hurts families who have to get by with less and businesses who have fewer customers with less to spend.  When a job doesn’t offer family leave to care for a new baby or sick leave to care for an ailing parent, that burdens men as well.  When an insurance plan denies women coverage because of preexisting conditions, that puts a strain on emergency rooms and drives up costs of care for everybody.  When any of our citizens can’t fulfill the potential that they have because of factors that have nothing to do with talent, or character, or work ethic, that diminishes us all.  It holds all of us back.  And it says something about who we are as Americans.

Right now, women are a growing number of breadwinners in the household.  But they’re still earning just 77 cents for every dollar a man does — even less if you’re an African American or Latina woman.  Overall, a woman with a college degree doing the same work as a man will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less over the course of her career.

So closing this pay gap — ending pay discrimination — is about far more than simple fairness.  When more women are bringing home the bacon, but bringing home less of it than men who are doing the same work, that weakens families, it weakens communities, it’s tough on our kids, it weakens our entire economy.  (Applause.)

Which is why the first bill I signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Act — Fair Pay Act — (applause) — to make it easier for women to demand fairness — equal pay for equal work.  We’re pushing for legislation to give women more tools to pay — to fight pay discrimination.  And we’ve encouraged companies to make workplaces more flexible so women don’t have to choose between being a good employee or a good mom.

More women are also choosing to strike out on their own.  Today, nearly 30 percent of small business owners are women.  Their businesses generate $1.2 trillion last year.  But they’re less likely to get the loans that they need to start up, or expand or to hire — which means they often have to depend on credit cards and the mounting debt that comes with them.  And that’s why, through some outstanding work by Karen Mills and the SBA and other parts of our administration, we’ve extended more than 16,000 new loans worth $4.5 billion to women-owned businesses — (applause) — not to mention cut taxes for small businesses 17 times, so that more women have the power to create more jobs and more opportunity.

We’re also focusing on making sure more women are prepared to fill the good jobs of today and tomorrow.  Over the past decade, women have earned well over half of all the higher education degrees awarded in America.  But once they get out of college we still have a lot of ground to cover.  Just 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.  Fewer than 20 percent of the seats in Congress are occupied by women.  Is it possible that Congress would get more done if there were more women in Congress?  (Laughter and applause.)  Is that fair to say, Joe?  (Applause.)  I think it’s fair to say.  That is almost guaranteed.  (Laughter.)

And while women account for four in five degrees in areas like education — which is terrific, because obviously there’s no profession that is more important than teaching — we also have to recognize that only two in five business degrees go to women; fewer than one in four engineering and computer science degrees go to women.  They make up just 25 percent of the workforce in the science and technical fields.  No unspoken bias or outdated barrier should ever prevent a girl from considering careers in these fields.  When creativity is limited or ingenuity is discouraged, that hurts all of us.  It denies America the game-changing products and world-changing discoveries we need to stay on top.

We’ve got to do more to encourage women to join these fields as well — make it easier to afford the education that’s required to make it.  Send a clear message to our daughters, which I’m doing every night:  Math, science, nothing wrong with it, a lot right with it.  We need you to focus.  That’s why our education reform, Race to the Top, has put a priority on science and technology and engineering and math education.  It has rewarded states that took specific steps to ensure that all students — especially underrepresented groups like girls — have the opportunity to get excited about these fields at an early age.  And we’ve helped more than 2.3 million more young women afford to pursue higher education with our increases in the Pell grants.  That’s good news.  (Applause.)

Another example — health reform.  It’s been in the news lately.  (Laughter.)  Because of the health reform law that we passed, women finally have more power to make their choices about their health care.  (Applause.)  Last year, more than 20 million women received expanded access to preventive services like mammograms and cervical cancer screenings at no additional cost.  (Applause.)  Nearly 2 million women enrolled in Medicare received a 50-percent discount on the medicine that they need.  Over 1 million more young women are insured because they can now stay on their parent’s plan.  And later this year, women will receive new access to recommended preventive care like domestic violence screening and contraception at no additional cost.  (Applause.)  And soon, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions like breast cancer, or charge women more just because they’re women.  (Applause.)

We don’t know — we haven’t gotten on the dry cleaning thing yet, though.  I mean, I know that that’s still — (laughter) — that’s still frustrating, I’m sure.  (Laughter.)

So when it comes to our efforts on behalf of women and girls, I’m proud of the accomplishments that we can point to.  Yes, we’ve got a lot more to do.  But there’s no doubt we’ve made progress.  The policies we’ve put in place over the past three years have started to take hold.  And what we can’t do now is go back to the policies that got us into so many of the problems that we’ve been dealing with in the first place.  That’s what’s at stake.

When people talk about repealing health care reform, they’re not just saying we should stop protecting women with preexisting conditions; they’re also saying we should kick about a million young women off their parent’s health care plans.

When people say we should get rid of Planned Parenthood, they’re not just talking about restricting a woman’s ability to make her own health decision; they’re talking about denying, as a practical matter, the preventive care, like mammograms, that millions of women rely on.

When folks talk about doing away with things like student aid that disproportionately help young women, they’re not thinking about the costs to our future, when millions of young Americans will have trouble affording to go to college.

And when something like the Violence Against Women Act — a bill Joe Biden authored, a bill that once passed by wide bipartisan margins — is suddenly called to question, that makes no sense.  (Applause.)  I don’t need to — that’s not something we should still be arguing about.  (Applause.)

Now, I don’t need to tell anybody here that progress is hard.  Change can come slow.  Opportunity and equality don’t come without a fight.  And sometimes, you’ve got to keep fighting even after you’ve won some victories.  Things don’t always move forward.  Sometimes they move backward if you’re not fighting for them.

But we do know these things are possible.  And all of you are proof to that.  This incredible collection of accomplished women — you’re proof of change.  So is the fact that for the first time in history, young girls across the country can see three women sitting on the bench of the highest court in the land.  (Applause.)  Or they can read about the extraordinary leadership of a woman who went by the title “Madam Speaker.”  (Applause.)  Or they can turn on the news and see that one of the most formidable presidential candidates and senators we ever had is now doing as much as anybody to improve America’s standing abroad as one of the best Secretaries of State that we’ve ever known.  (Applause.)  And they can see that every single day, another 500 women, just like yourselves, take the helm of their own company right here in America, and do their part to grab those doors of opportunity that they walked through and open them just a little bit wider for the next generation.

As long as I’ve got the privilege of being your President, we’re going to keep working every single day to make sure those doors forever stay open, and widen the circle of opportunity for all our kids.

Thank you for what you do.  Keep it up.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

10:51 A.M. EDT

White House Releases Report on Women and the Economy

Today, at the White House Forum on Women and the Economy, the President will discuss the importance of restoring the economic security for the middle class and creating an economy that’s built to last for America’s women. The President believes we must build an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone pays their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. As part of today’s Forum the White House released a new report entitled Keeping America’s Women Moving Forward, The Key to an Economy Built to Last, which examines the ways in which the Administration has worked to ensure women’s economic security through all stages of life – from young women furthering their education and beginning their careers, to working women who create jobs and provide for their families, to seniors in retirement or getting ready for retirement. View the report HERE.

“As a father, one of the highlights of my day is asking my daughters about theirs.  Their hopes and their futures are what drive me every day I step into the Oval Office,” said President Obama.  “Every decision I make is all about making sure they and all our daughters and all our sons grow up in a country that gives them the chance to be anything they set their minds to; a country where more doors are open to them than were ever open to us.”

Today, more than ever, women are essential breadwinners in most American families. Yet women in our economy and our work force still aren’t getting a fair shake, earning just 77 cents on every dollar paid to men.  Women now make up nearly 50% of our workforce, are a growing number of breadwinners in their families, and are the majority of students in our colleges and graduate schools. The President believes that expanding economic opportunities for women and ending discriminatory practices is critical to building an economy that restores security for middle class families, where hard work and responsibility are rewarded, and everyone who wants one can find a good job.

Highlights from the Keeping America’s Women Moving Forward report include an overview of how Administration policies impact women at every stage of their lives:

Yong Women Obtaining Higher Education and Beginning their Careers

 Of the additional 3.4 million students who have received Pell grants since the President took office, approximately 2.3 million are women.

 9.4 million students and families have benefitted from the American Opportunity Tax Credit to help pay for college.

 1.1 million women between the ages of 19 and 25 who would have been uninsured currently receive health coverage under a parent’s health insurance plan or through an individually purchased health insurance plan.

 Women and girls across America are benefiting from efforts to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, (STEM) degrees and careers because women who hold STEM degrees and jobs earn 30% more, on average, than women in non-STEM jobs.

Working Women Providing for their Families and Contributing to Economic Growth

 More than 16,000 Small Business Administration Loans totaling more than $4.5 billion were granted to women-owned small businesses.

 $62.5 million in monetary relief has been obtained for victims of sex-based wage discrimination by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since January 2010.

 The Payroll tax cut provided an average of $1,000 of tax relief for nearly 75 million women.

 An estimated 4.9 million women were kept out of poverty in 2010 because of expansions in refundable tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

 An estimated 20.4 million women are benefiting from expanded access to preventive services such as mammograms, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and prenatal care at no additional cost.

Senior Women in Retirement and Preparing for Retirement

 24.7 million women enrolled in Medicare received preventive services at no additional cost in 2011, including an annual wellness visit, a personalized prevention plan, mammograms, and bone mass measurement for women at risk of osteoporosis.

 More than 2 million women enrolled in Medicare who hit the donut hole saved $1.2 billion in 2011 due to improvements in prescription drug coverage.

 More than $13.6 billion in payments of $250 each were provided to seniors and veterans as part of the Recovery Act, a substantial percentage of which went to women.

 President Obama has committed to protecting Social Security for an estimated 30 million women beneficiaries.

The White House Women and the Economy Forum will address a wide range of Administration accomplishments while focusing on how critical women are to the nation’s economic success. Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls Valerie Jarrett will deliver opening remarks and introduce a panel, moderated by Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe with Senior Administration Officials, private sector and academic leaders participating. Following the opening panel, the President will deliver remarks to an audience of entrepreneurs, academics, stakeholders, business leaders.  Following the President’s remarks, Senior Administration Officials including Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Attorney General Eric Holder, as well as the Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Munoz, Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls Tina Tchen and Katharine Abraham, Member of the Council of Economic Advisors,  will lead a series of breakout sessions on a range of topics including: Women at Work, Education, Health, Women’s Entrepreneurship, and Violence Against Women and Girls.

View more about the White House Council on Women and Girls HERE.

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2012: Mitt Romney’s Statement on the Economy & March Jobs Report “The President’s Excuses Have Run Out”



Mitt Romney: “The President’s Excuses Have Run Out”


Boston, MA

United States

Mitt Romney today made the following statement on the March employment report:

“This is a weak and very troubling jobs report that shows the employment market remains stagnant. Millions of Americans are paying a high price for President Obama’s economic policies, and more and more people are growing so discouraged that they are dropping out of the labor force altogether. It is increasingly clear the Obama economy is not working and that after three years in office the President’s excuses have run out.”

On Jobs, Obama and Romney Argue Over Fullness of the Glass

Source: NYT, 4-6-12

President Obama speaking on Friday at the White House Forum on Women and the Economy in Washington.

President Obama on Friday emphasized the last three months of job creation while Mitt Romney argued that Mr. Obama has been a failed economic steward….READ MORE

White House Recap March 31-April 5, 2012: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Barack Obama Focuses on the Economy — Speech on GOP Budget, Signing the STOCK Act & JOBS Act & Hosted North American Leaders Summit



West Wing Week: 4/6/2012 or “The Annual Spring Break Edition!”

This week, the President hosted a summit with North American Leaders, addressed the Associated Press, signed his economic report, the STOCK Act and the JOBS Act, and held an Easter Prayer Breakfast. That’s March 30th to April 5 or “The Annual Spring Break Edition!”

West Wing Week

Source: WH, 4-6-12

This week, the President hosted a summit with North American leaders, addressed the Associated Press, signed his economic report, the STOCK Act, and the JOBS Act, and held an Easter Prayer Breakfast.

Weekly Wrap Up: “Some Calm Before the Storm”

Source: WH, 4-6-12

North American Leaders Summit: Leaders of Mexico and Canada joined President Obama at the White House on Monday for a summit aimed at promoting economic growth and creating jobs in all three countries. At a press conference in the Rose Garden, President Obama remarked, “I’m pleased to announce that our three nations are launching a new effort to get rid of outdated regulations that stifle job creation.” The leaders also discussed security, energy, and efforts to combat drug cartels, as well as ways to continue boosting exports.

#AskVP about College Affordability: “College costs high. Debt burdensome. Help needed. That’s why I’m here. Fire away. Use #AskVP –vp,” the Vice President tweeted as a kickoff to his chat with the Twitterverse regarding college affordability and how the Obama Administration is tackling rising costs. Check out the question and answer session – covering topics from student loan debt to the emphasis on high education in the proposed budget – on Storify.

Easter Prayer Breakfast: On Wednesday, President Obama hosted his third annual Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House, a week ahead of the Easter Egg Roll. “I wanted to get together with you for a little prayer and reflection, some calm before the storm.”

Signed: the STOCK Act: During the State of the Union, President Obama stood before Congress and asked lawmakers to pass the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act. The bill was signed into law on Wednesday, making “it clear that if members of Congress use nonpublic information to gain an unfair advantage in the market, then they are breaking the law.”

Federal Taxpayer Receipt: Want to find out how much of the federal taxes you paid went toward the different categories of spending in the 2011 Federal Budget? President Obama spoke about the newly updated Federal Taxpayer Receipt this week as a “terrific way for people to be able to get information about where their tax dollars are actually going.” Enter a few pieces of information about the taxes you paid last year and find out how much of what you paid went to each slice of the pie here.

Full Text Obama Presidency April 6, 2012: Alan B. Krueger’s Statement on the March Jobs Report & Employment Situation




Statement on the Employment Situation in March

Source: WH, 4-6-12

Alan B. Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the employment situation in March. You can view the statement HERE.

The Employment Situation in March

There is more work to be done, but today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue to make smart investments that strengthen our economy and lay a foundation for long-term middle class job growth so we can continue to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began at the end of 2007.

Employer payrolls increased by 121,000 jobs in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ establishment survey. The unemployment rate ticked down to 8.2% in March, according to the household survey.  However, employment was virtually unchanged in the household survey.

Both surveys indicate the continuing challenges facing construction workers, as a result of the collapse in homebuilding following the bursting of the housing bubble.  The unemployment rate for construction workers stands at 17.2%, more than double the national average.  Because of weak private sector demand for construction investment and the nation’s continuing need for improved infrastructure, including maintenance of existing highways, bridges, and ports, the President’s Budget proposal to increase and modernize the nation’s infrastructure is well targeted to support the economy today and in the future.

Despite adverse shocks that have created headwinds for economic growth, including weak construction investment, the economy has added private sector jobs for 25 straight months, for a total of 4.1 million jobs over that period.

Manufacturing continues to be a bright spot and added 37,000 jobs in March.  After losing millions of good manufacturing jobs in the years before and during the recession, the economy has added 466,000 manufacturing jobs in the past 25 months—the strongest growth for any 25 month period since September 1995.  To continue the revival in manufacturing jobs and output, the President has proposed tax incentives for manufacturers, enhanced training for the workforce, and measures to create manufacturing hubs.

Other sectors with net job increases included leisure and hospitality (+39,000), professional and business services (+31,000), and financial activities (+15,000).  Retail trade lost 33,800 jobs, construction lost 7,000 jobs, and government lost 1,000 jobs.  State and local government job losses have moderated in recent months.  Almost three-quarters of the slower job growth in March relative to February was due to slower growth in temporary help services and health care and day care services.

As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.

Alan B. Krueger is Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

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